Beijing cuisine does not only highlight the flavors of Shandong province in the east but also the rest of China. Cooks from different parts of the country showcased their culinary skills to please the imperial family in the Forbidden City. Chives, sesame oil and fermented soy bean among others are some of the most used ingredients in Beijing cuisine.
Here in the Philippines, Chinese food has always been regarded as one of the tastiest and considered comfort food by many. Our recent food trip to Manila Chinatown further ignited our desire to taste authentic Chinese food and so The Daily Phil did not miss the opportunity to devour on some of the must try dishes in the locals’ favorite restaurants during our short vacation in Beijing. Let’s eat!
Peking Duck at De Yuan Restaurant
Probably Beijing’s most iconic dish is the Peking duck. Dressed duck is coated with maltose syrup then cooked in a hung oven for a couple of hours. The result is crispy skin glistening in dark golden color and juicy, flavorful meat that will make one finish the whole thing, nibbling every piece of meat out of the bones. It is just right that our first meal in Beijing is the city’s signature dish.
We went to Deyuan Restaurant which is just a couple of blocks away from our hotel. It was a busy Friday evening and the restaurant was crowded despite ongoing renovation on its exterior. We waited for 10 min to be seated. We ordered a Peking Duck platter which includes one whole roasted duck that has been carved with the skin and different meat portions served on separate plates along with a side of leeks, cucumber, crepe, chili sauce and hoisin sauce. The duck is enjoyed in such an interactive approach where one helps himself by getting a wrap and filling it with a slice of meat and vegetables before dipping it in the sauce.
The duck is so tasty and juicy and the vegetables help balance out its fattiness. There is no unpleasant aftertaste which is my main issue with duck meat. While the fat melts in your mouth instantly, the meat itself provides a little bit of texture. The skin is very light and crispy, it’s like air was pumped in between its layers.
John requested for the bones to be served and he enjoyed sucking out the flavor from it. This is totally fine as most tables were doing it too. Besides, we should enjoy this meal to the fullest as it costs CNY 175.00. There is no better way to start our China adventures than a Peking duck dinner.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: No.57 Dashilan West Street, Xicheng District, Beijing China
Operating Hours: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm; 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Jiaozi at Bao Yuan Dumpling Restaurant
The next evening, we travelled all the way to Chaoyang District to try some dim sum, locally known as Jiaozi. Bao Yuan Dumpling Restaurant is 10 min away by foot from Agricultural Exhibition Station in Line 10. What makes their dumplings unique is its colorful dough wrapper. You can order any type of dumplings from their menu and request the staff to serve them in shades of purple, orange and green. However, the color has nothing to do with the taste or flavor. Nonetheless, I am sure the kids will love these rainbow-colored savory treats.
We ordered 2 servings of shrimp and pork dumplings for CNY 25.00. The dumplings are really huge and packed with filling composed of pork, shrimp, chives, mushroom and what seems to be bamboo shoots. I slightly dipped it in their special sauce made of dark vinegar and chili oil for some extra kick. What I liked about it is that it’s really fresh. Each batch is prepared once an order is placed and so we had to wait for a couple of minutes before our order arrived.
It reminded me a lot of Kuchay Dumplings from Dong Bei in Binondo because of the presence of the chives which is the dominant taste and the similar texture of the wrapper. Flavor wise, I was expecting it to be more intense. Aside from the color, the dumplings are not really that different from the rest after all.
The Verdict: 3.5 / 5.0
Address: North of 6 Maizidian Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100025 China
Operating Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Mutton at Lau Liu’s Mongolian Fire Pot
We just got back to the city from Jinshanling where we finally conquered The Great Wall of China, one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had so far. Trying out another must try dish is the perfect ending to this amazing day. We went deep into the streets of Beixingqiao to dine in at Lau Liu’s Mongolian Fire Pot. Hot Pots are very popular in Beijing as it was brought in by their Mongolian neighbors from the north. What’s interesting about this dish is their extensive use of mutton which is meat from a young goat not more than 2 years old. The stock is boiled in very unique pot that resembles a warrior’s helmet in the old days.
I have never eaten mutton before so I was curious and nervous to try it. We went for the “choice cut” as it was listed as their bestseller. Seafood such as shrimp, squid, different kinds of vegetables and other hot pot staples can be purchased as well. The owner was kind enough to demonstrate to us how to do the whole thing.
You pick up the thin strips of mutton and dip it in the boiling stock for 3 to 5 times, depending if you want it rare or well done. Once cooked to your preference, dip it in their special sauce which is a mix of what tasted like peanut butter, sesame paste, chopped onions and cilantro.
I had my mutton almost well done and the taste and texture is a little bit similar to beef but had less of the iron-like aftertaste. The sauce complimented the meat really well. It was nutty, creamy and savory and it helped masked the unpleasant taste you would get from raw meat. Our total bill was CNY 240.00.
The Verdict: 5.0 / 5.0
Address: No.73 Lane 3, Beixinsanqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China
Operating Hours: We’re not sure but we got there at around 6:00 pm.
Zha Jiang Mian at Dong Lai Shun
The last item on our must eat list is Zha Jiang Mian or noodles topped with soy bean sauce. We went to Dong Lai Shun in Xianyukuo Street, a popular tourist destination lined up with numerous food places and souvenir shops.
The noodles are very thick indeed, so much thicker than our Lomi noodles. Its texture is soft and firm at the same time. The dark and oily soy bean sauce or more popularly known as “Beijing Sauce” is sweet and salty. It has the same fermented flavor that you would get from “Tausi” back home. It also gives it a little bit of an earthy and bitter taste. There are also small chunks of pork in the mix.
The combination of fresh noodles, soy bean sauce and various types of vegetables such as cucumber, radish and fresh soy beans make this dish so refreshing. One big bowl good enough for two costs CNY 28.00.
The Verdict: 4.0 / 5.0
Address: No.198 Wangfujing Street, Beijing China
Operating Hours: 6:30 am – 9:30 am, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
We had a great time trying out some of the must try dishes of Beijing. My favorite would definitely have to be the Peking duck. Even though I am not a big fan of duck meat, all of the food blogs I read and all of the travel videos I watched recommended it and so I had to give it a try.
What fascinated me the most is its light and crispy skin that melts in your mouth easily. Its glistens in its dark, golden glaze that makes it so much more appetizing. The meat layered with fat is just so tasty and oozes with umami flavor. Duck can’t get any better than this. If given the chance to go back, I would love to try other famous food stuff in Beijing such as the Donkey Burger.
We made a Beijing Street Food Guide video on our YouTube channel, The Daily Phil. Make sure to check it out to see what our food trip experience was really like.
This is The Daily Phil, conquering the world, one country at a time, using a Filipino passport.
Until next time, Travel Now, Bills Later!